You cannot imagine what would happen if you were to lose a member of your family. The pain and confusion would be unbearable, and you would not know where to turn for help…but as a parent, you should know that your children will be in the same situation if you are suddenly unable to care for them.
Many parents are reluctant to consider whom they trust with their child’s future care. Even if they have chosen a person or couple to raise children, very few have taken legal steps to make the decision official. And without this protection, any unscrupulous relative or other person could potentially be assigned guardianship of your child by a judge who does not know your child or your family.
How to Appoint the Right Guardian as Part of Your Florida Family Estate Plan
It is vital that parents take steps during their lifetimes to appoint the right legal guardian for their children. A guardian not only oversees your child’s funds and inheritance, but also prevents others from misusing assets and taking advantage of minor family members. Guardianship may be thought of as both an ethical and legal responsibility: the guardian is bound to take care of his or her ward, protect the ward’s rights, and improve the quality of the ward’s life.
Since the relationship between the guardian and ward is legally binding, parents should consult an attorney to make sure that an appropriate guardian is chosen, and that the guardian is aware of procedural and monetary responsibilities he or she has assumed as caretaker. We advise parents and grandparents on many guardianship concerns, including:
You may have already created a will naming your children as beneficiaries. However, if you were to die while your children are under the age of 18, who would continue raising them? If your will does not stipulate who should serve as a guardian for your children, the probate court will choose a guardian for them—even someone you may not approve of.
Our legal team can ensure that your intentions are respected by:
- Helping you select a guardian and securing his or her appointment by the courts.
- Educating you and the potential guardian on the responsibilities he or she is undertaking.
- Naming an alternate guardian if the primary guardian is incapacitated or otherwise unable or unwilling to serve.
- Restructuring the provisions of your will to prevent abuse by family members.
- Making a case for abandonment if an absentee parent or untrustworthy adult tries to claim guardianship.
- Creating a minor’s inheritance trust (with a separate trustee if appropriate) to oversee your child’s inheritance.
- Instituting other protections that are right for YOU and your children.
We want all Florida parents to understand the full effects of their guardianship choices. To learn more about selecting the best guardians for your kids, be sure to download our free guide, Florida Minor’s Guardianship Guide for Moms.
Children with special needs rely on their parents for every facet of their lives, and this dependence does not stop when the child legally becomes an adult. However, under Florida law, a disabled child is considered independent once she turns 18, regardless of whether she is able to care for herself.
The only way for parents to continue making medical and financial decisions on behalf of their children is by petitioning the court to become legal guardian advocates for their disabled child(ren). The attorneys at My Pink Lawyer® can help you retain legal guardianship of a developmentally disabled child, as well as set up a special needs trust (also known as a supplemental needs trust) to protect your child’s right to public assistance benefits.
We understand that many Florida residents will need assistance with guardianship of elderly disabled adults. While we do not oversee these types of guardianships, we would be happy to refer you to someone in your area who can advise you on these matters.
Although we do not handle nor consult on Social Security disability applications, we can refer you to other advisors that we trust.
Are You Seeking to Be Appointed at Florida Guardian of a Minor or Florida Guardian Advocate of a Special Needs Adult?
My Pink Lawyer® offers no-obligation Florida minor guardianship and guardian advocate consultations with one of our experienced attorneys for only $37.
Unlike most Florida law firms, once we know more about the particular situation, we will be able to quote you a flat, fixed fee for your Florida uncontested minor's guardianship or guardian advocate proceeding.
We do not bill hourly nor do we charge a percentage of guardianship assets.
There are never any surprise bills.
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